Flash forward to the year 2050. The scene is a university history class on the early 21st century. A professor is discussing the long-run effects of George W. Bush’s tax cuts and general fiscal policy. The teacher conveys the widely accepted and mainstream view amongst economists, historians, and policy analysts how Bush’s large deficits quickly ran up the federal debt for decades even after leaving office, straining the government’s capability to fight terrorism and address other defense needs. Likewise, his economic policies also significantly stressed the solvency of the Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid systems for the very long-term, severely reducing benefits for elderly and needy recipients – a substantial portion of the American public.
Now, rewind the clock back to the present – 2004. The above scenario will be Bush’s legacy, whether he is a one- or two-term president.
George W. Bush’s low D is principally merited due to inaptly addressing fiscal policy to the country’s problems and a weak response to corporate governance scandals. With better policies in these two areas, the United States should have experienced a stronger economy, higher employment and earnings growth, and more resilient stock markets during his term. While no president is 100 percent responsible for the economy’s outcome, Bush should have done much better in what he could affect.
Download the entire report in PDF